The La Salle County Board approved travel expenses for three state’s attorney’s office employees to attend a Washington, D.C. conference for drug-court training, but it won’t cost taxpayers anything.

Karen Donnelly, state’s attorney, said she’s sending two assistant prosecutors and a case coordinator to a July 14-17 conference with a grant that pays the travel and lodging expenses. Donnelly said she hopes to get the drug court, a longtime personal objective, up and running by autumn.

The drug court would provide eligible offenders with court-supervised treatment options and a shot at dismissal of charges if they successfully complete the program.

Self-insurance saves big money

Finally, the board learned its insurance trust has paid big dividends for the county.

The board has been largely self-insuring (exception: health care for county employees) since 2004. During a presentation, it was disclosed the county has cumulatively saved $7.8 million for an average gross savings of nearly $519,000 per year — down slightly because of claims filed in 2018.

“It has been very profitable for the taxpayers,” said Marius Derango, the insurance trust chairman and former county board member. “We’ve saved a great deal of money.”

In other matters, the board:

  • Approved travel expenses for deputy EMA director Fred Moore to attend a conference in San Diego
  • Reappointed Jack Wayland, William Johnson and Renae Gallagher to the La Salle County Health Department board through June 30, 2022
  • Awarded a $12,000 architectural-engineering contract to Basalay, Cary & Alstadt Architects, Ltd. to replace the walk-in freezers at the nursing home.
  • Reappointed Gary Grabowski and Doug Biederstedt as commissioners of the La Salle County Housing Authority
  • Reappointed Martin Terselic and Keith Coons as trustees of the Oglesby and Wenona fire protection districts, respectively
  • Meets at 1 p.m. July 11

Tom Collins can be reached at (815) 220-6930 or


Tom Collins is the NewsTribune Senior Reporter. He can be reached at (815) 220-6930 or
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